The company I work for is a telecommunications company called Sprint-Nextel, and we work on countless team projects throughout the year. One example I remember in particular is when a brand new store was set up in our area. This new store set-up included roughly 10 team members whose sole purpose was to plan, create, and design a store that fits the mold of all existing corporate stores. This is a very important aspect due to the fact that each new corporate store in the United States must be identical to the others. The reason for this being, that we must all relay the same message in order not to confuse our large customer base.
The behaviors my team exhibited throughout our time setting up the store were mainly disagreement and conflict. Unfortunately when there are many different personality types and ideas between individuals, the group is bound to run into obstacles while trying to complete the task. The only way we could complete the task was through following the instructions provided by Sprint-Nextel. Having structure is the best way a team discussion can be organized enough to follow a prescribed agenda and address the task that needs to be accomplished (Beebe, S. A., Beebe, S. J., & Ivy, D. K. 2009). With that said, our team had to come to an agreement that we would follow the structure provided to us in order to have guidance to finish our tasks sufficiently.
One of the problems the team encountered while following the structure of the project was the inability to coordinate the efforts equally. Since there were approximately 10 other teammates, the major obstacles were making sure each team member was equally doing the same amount of work as everyone else. And so, our team implemented a solution in order to combat this obstacle. The team members spent a good portion of time discussing how to accomplish the goals set by the team. Our team coordinated the work equally and distributed different tasks in order to avoid duplications of effort. Since our communication went so well after this effort, each member of the team had their own task to work on, which didn’t coincide with any other teammate’s jobs. This, in essence, created a successful solution, helping the team succeed and made sure every single member of the team played an equally important part.
Unfortunately while setting up this brand new store here in Albuquerque, NM, the team had some difficulties along the way. Some of these difficulties were the ineptness provided by our store manager at the time. The store manager lacked the vocal presence needed for the rest of the team to succeed. Just like in sports, without a team leader (best player), it will hinder a team’s chances to succeed. The way our team overcame this major obstacle was coming together and realizing the team must persevere without the verbal instructions of our store manger. Realizing our team had many other verbal leaders, we managed to work through the lack of communication provided by our store manager, and completed the project. Leadership, however, would have been a tremendous asset to have in the process and may have produced better results. Leadership is the ability to influence the behavior of others through communication (Beebe, S. A., Beebe, S. J., & Ivy, D. K. 2009). It’s the leader’s sole purpose to ensure that whatever task is assigned, is completed by one of the members of the team.
Since we lacked the true leadership of our store manager, our team had many other verbal leaders help enable us to finish the project and complete the store set up. The structure and interaction of our team was fantastic without the leadership of our store manager. The team analyzed and identified the problem and then created a general solution to follow in order to achieve the completion of the store set-up. The ground rules were simple: the team had to follow certain expectations in order to meet the deadline of the store opening. Our team implemented simple steps for each individual to work on, including working in different parts of the store to make sure there were no duplications among the group. Half of the team member’s roles were to set up the phones and put them on display with the proper information, while the other half had to make sure the displays were correct, and that all the banners and paperwork were complete. Since the team laid out a clear and precise plan of action without the direction of our store manager, it helped us accomplish and overcome any problem we ran into along the way.
Since our team was setting up a telecommunications store (Sprint-Nextel), the team was extremely technologically savvy. The cohesiveness was very strong between all the team members because we knew we lacked the verbal presence and direction of our store manger. The team implemented a group text messaging application so that everyone could communicate with one another, and the store could be completed on time. Through this means of communication, our team didn’t run into any obstacles, which could have hindered our ability to finish the project. The team understood the importance of getting a hold of each other to finish the ultimate goal. There were a variety of technological outlets our team had in order to get a hold of each other.
Because we lacked the communication skills of our store manager, we were held accountable for overcoming that obstacle. I still feel the team couldn’t have done any better considering our circumstances. The team was extremely short on time, and yet we were still expected to finish up preparation for an entire new store to be ready for business. Because of the fact that leadership was minimal to none, we had an entirely new obstacle to deal with on top of the original goal. Our team was extremely fortunate we had a group of strong individuals that were experienced with the company, and that knew how to work through obstacles and get things done. I feel that many other types of stores in this situation would have been in shambles considering the circumstances. From my personal experience and from working in retail for the last 8 years, I’ve learned that having good leadership is imperative in completing almost any task. In the future, upper management at my store needs to understand the obstacles we faced during this group task, and better prepare members of management of the ins and out of how to set up a brand new store, as well as how to delegate tasks to employees.
Beebe, S. A., Beebe, S. J., & Ivy, D. K. (2009). Communication: Principles for a lifetime. Volume 3: Communicating in groups and teams. Boston, MA: Pearson Allyn and Bacon.